Palestine is not the kind of place usually associated with street racing, peppered as it is with roadblocks and checkpoints, but Amber Fare’s documentary proves that it has a thriving scene that is also home to something of a rarity. The Speed Sisters are a five-woman racing team, the first in the Middle East.
Consisting of 19-year-old reigning champ, Marah, glamorous, wealthy Betty, athletic Noor, team captain Maysoon and Mona, one of the first female racers in Pakistan, the documentary follows the five women over two seasons and provides a fascinating insight into their lives. With a good mix of race scenes, sit-down interviews and clips of news shows that feature the women, the film features to a soundtrack straight from the Middle Eastern independent music scene. It all makes for thrilling and heartening viewing.
The women have their fair share of external obstacles to overcome, but also internal ones, such as the rivalry between the two top racers, Marah and Betty; these are two women from entirely different worlds. Yet outside of that, things are a little more serious. With races held in empty market places and helicopter pads rather than official tracks, it’s no surprise the women can’t find a safe place to practice and have to make do with a car park next to an Israeli detention centre. It’s a stark reminder of the dangerous world these women live in, like when Maysoon casually points out soldiers shooting tear gas at young men throwing stones and remarks that the smell of tear gas reminds her of her childhood.
This is a daily occurrence for these women, which makes their story all the more compelling. These are not just women fighting against every pre-conceived notion society has for them, but women who have been made even more determined in the face of very real danger. Like Marah says: “What are we supposed to do, stop living? When this happens, the occupation wins.”
Speed Sisters is released nationwide on 25th March 2016.
Watch the trailer for Speed Sisters here: